STATE COLLEGE, Pa (WTAJ) — With less than 24 hours before the Blue and White game kick-off, our Ryan Risky had the chance to chat with Penn State Head Coach James Franklin and his overview of Spring Camp.
Ryan Risky [WTAJ Sports Reporter] An elite recruiting led by five star recruits Drew Allar and Nick Singleton just arrived on campus, what have you seen from them so far?
James Franklin [Penn State Head Coach] Obviously getting them here early is significant. They’ve been great this spring and it’s really laid a foundation and allowed them to come in and compete in the summer. But overall it’s been really good, obviously Singleton is really strong and explosive like we anticipated and obviously Allar has got a lot of the skills when it comes to throwing the ball that we saw on tape. A lot of things that they need to get corrected and refined between now and Purdue, but we got some time to do that.
RR: Allar is a really young player, how big is it for him that Sean Clifford is back for a sixth season?
JF: Yeah talking to Drew as well as his parents you know Sean’s been phenomenal. Having him in meetings, being able to ask questions when the coaches aren’t around, being out there to watch on the field and to model some of the behaviors, I think it’s been really really important and is going to help his development.
RR: You’re now in year two with Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich, what kind of progress have you seen from last spring?
JF: Yeah I think Sean’s a big part of that right. Sean is just so much more comfortable being in the same system now for two years. I think Mike’s got a better understanding and feel of what our personnel is and I thought we’ve done a really good job of making a commitment to the running game this spring which I think will really help us in a lot of different area’s; four-minute offense, short yardage, and then also taking some of the pressure off our quarterback.
RR: On the other side of the ball one of the biggest departures is losing Brent Pry to Virginia Tech, how is the defense shaping up under Manny Diaz?
JF: Yeah Coach Pry had the opportunity to be the Head Coach of Virginia Tech which is awesome and I’m happy for him and his family and then we were fortunate to be able to out and hire Manny Diaz who’s going to come in and build on the foundation that we laid here over the last eight years. Obviously tremendous experience as a defensive coordinator, but also the experience of being a head coach is really valuable so he’s been great so all the stuff we studied before hiring him, all the data and analytics, I can see why he’s been successful over his career. I think you’ll see the biggest jump though will be a couple weeks into camp because this spring was about laying a foundation.
RR: You lost some first-round talent in Jaquan Brisker, Jahan Dotson, and Arnold Ebiketie to the NFL Draft. Who are some guys that have stepped up and impressed you?
JF: That’s why development, that’s why recruiting, that’s why NIL is so important moving forward because you need the next guy. We need the next big-time player in college football and first-round draft choices, but there’s a number of guys, I don’t wanna point out specifically because I’ll name two or three and then four or five will be upset or their parents will be upset I didn’t mention them, but most importantly I’d love for the fans and the media to watch the game tomorrow and let them have debates over who the next great player is going to be.